Jim Barnett didn't have to look far to find his running mate for the gubernatorial race.
Recently, Barnett named Rosie Hansen, his wife as his running mate for Lt. governor.
Barnett and Hansen made a stop in Dodge City Wednesday, their first as governor and Lt. governor candidates.
"I wanted to introduce everyone to my Lt. governor running mate," Barnett said of his latest stop in Dodge City. "It's a good way for us to revisit issues and see how that adds complimentary to the team.
"One of the important decisions as running for governor is selecting the right Lt. governor and I used two criteria; someone that was correct on the issues and someone that would be able to step in at minutes notice to assume the role of governor should something happen.
"But I can say I have a clean bill of health, I have been a physician for over 36 years but, you never know."
Hansen, a Kansas native, grew up on a small farm near Americus, graduating from Americus High School in 1972 before heading to the University of Kansas, earning her BA in biology in 1976.
From there Hansen went on to the University of Minnesota where she earned her law degree in 1982.
In 1993 she earned her Master's in Public Administration at the Kennedy School at Harvard University and in 1998 was a National Security Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
From 1985 through 2011, Hansen was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department where she traveled to Ecuador, Bangladesh, Germany, Bosnia, Australia, Afghanistan and Thailand for U.S. Embassy assignments.
She received the Minister Counselor rank in Thailand, Australia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan as lead oversight of Embassy management operations.
"A lot people use different criteria's such as someone that can bring money or they have political connections or geography," Barnett said. "For me I chose those two.
"Rosie has served her country well and has deep roots in Kansas."
The decision to select Hansen didn't come without some pushback for.
"I told him he was crazy," said Hansen. "He asked me about six months ago and we were just driving along and we were talking about what we had learned from the latest visit we were at and he said, 'I know who I want to be my running mate,' and he said me, and I said no, I'm not a politician and he said, 'exactly.'"
It wasn't until a few months later the question came up again when Hansen and Barnett were talking about a functioning state government which Hansen was wanting to get involved with because of her experience with Embassy assignments she had been running.
"But he told me that I would need to do that from the inside not the outside," Hansen said of the opportunity. "And I still wasn't ready to say yes at that point but I did put that in the back of my head and at some point I realized if you want to make a difference you have to step up.
"So even though I have never done anything like this before, I said OK, let's do it."
With her background Hansen wants to use her global perspective having seen a number of countries and seen a number of governments, she is able to use what she has seen what works and what doesn't.
"I have been fortunate to have worked in very interesting places and to help build or rebuild or build up Embassies that create the foundation for the U.S. government to deliver its message overseas," she said. "The kind of challenges I have in the management field overseas, I can see very much translating to the things that happen in Kansas and the things that need to be worked on."
Some of the things for Kansas Hansen would like to work on would be building the Department of Commerce back up.
"That has been kind of decimated," she said. "It used to have a global reach and it used to have a better national reach and those positions got cut and so we have done a whole lot less of that and the economy has suffered for it.
"So being able to rebuild that is something that I am interested in."
Barnett alluded to Network Kansas and what is best for minorities and women and how its been a great program that is used similar to those used in other countries.
"Her area of expertise has been in management and finding efficiencies," Barnett said. "And in Kansas the government went off the rails the last seven years with the Brownback-Colyer tax experiment. We need someone with management skills and efficiency skills to make things work again."
Barnett added that one of the challenges the next governor would face would be economic growth and international business and trade opportunities.
"We talk all the time," Barnett said of his and Hansen's travels together. "We talk about our visits when we've gone into a school, a hospital or a business, so as soon as we walk out we're just full of ideas that we have listened to and we try to formulate answers, so our One Kansas agenda, has come from listening to Kansans across Kansas and our answers have come from Kansans as well so we feel our platform and the policies we want to recommend, will have come from Kansans."
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